FILE – An Air Canada Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is shown next to a gate at Trudeau Airport in Montreal on March 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

WestJet joins Air Canada in hoping to qualify for wage subsidy to bring workers back

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

WestJet says it plans to bring back nearly 6,400 employees on to its payroll with the help of Ottawa’s emergency wage subsidy program.

WestJet chief executive Ed Sims made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday evening, following a similar announcement by Air Canada Tuesday.

He says employees will be back on the company payroll once the federal government has approved the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

Air Canada said it would use the program to bring back about 16,500 employees it laid off in March due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sims says it doesn’t mean all the employees will be automatically coming back to work because there might not be work for them to do, but he says it will help the workers financially.

WestJet continues to operate flights during the crisis, but it has slashed its capacity.

International air travel has dropped to record lows, with passenger volumes at Canadian airports decreasing by 96 per cent year over year for the week starting March 30, despite thousands of travellers returning home on repatriation flights, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Passengers arriving from the U.S. and the rest of the globe dwindled to 11,400 and 3,300, respectively, compared to 376,900 and 73,200 in 2019.

“While our seat capacity and operations have decreased by more than 90 per cent overnight, we are trying to keep as many of our employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly help,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said in a release Wednesday.

READ MORE: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

READ MORE: WestJet lays off nearly 7,000 employees, cutting staff in half amid COVID-19 crisis

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows not expecting flooding but is prepared should it happen

City is monitoring rivers upstream and has completed study on evacuation route planning

MRI arrives at Maple Ridge hospital this week

A $5-million diagnostic machine has been bolted into place at Ridge Meadows Hospital

LETTER: A 12-year-old’s poetic tribute to George Floyd

Keena wrote this poem as part of a Grade 7 project

LETTER: Telosky park being treated like a garbage can

Maple Ridge resident upset by the amount of littering found in revamped facilities

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows seniors enjoy outdoor dance party for Seniors Week

Outdoor party held in the parking lot of the Pitt Meadows Seniors Activity Centre

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

Most Read